Monday, May 02, 2005

Freedom Friends

I will continue my series on the elders at Balby as soon as I can squeeze out some more time.

Meanwhile, I saw a fascinating website for the first time today. Some of my readers may already know about it, but I discovered it only by following the links around the Quaker Webring maintained by Kirk Wattles (see the Quaker Webring logo now at the bottom of my blog).

The site I found is for something called "Freedom Friends Church", an independent Quaker Meeting in Salem Oregon that says it is "Passionately Christ-Centered, Passionately Quaker, and Passionately Inclusive". Naturally they say some things I disagree with, and I'm sorry to see they have a pastor (though they also say all members are ministers), but it does a better job than anything I've seen for a long time in bringing together a lot of the things I am looking for in Quakerism and Christianity. Check them out at Freedom Friends Church.


Blogger Joe G. said...

I discovered them in the same fashion about a year ago.

I think their pastor spoke at Pacific Yearly Meeting a year or two ago, too. The response was quite interesting.

The issue of having a pastor: that doesn't bother me as much as it used to. I've come to the conclusion that some of us need to have a more explicitly stated leader or guide in the spiritual journey. Just my thoughts...

Thanks for your series on the Balby elders, by the way.

9:27 AM, May 05, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Rich,

My name is Peggy Senger Parsons, and I'm the pastor that you are sorry to see that Freedom Friends has. (whacky sentence!)

I am glad to see that you found our website, which we put up to help people find our meeting in a physical sort of way. It has been our number one method of adding attenders. But it has also had such big traffic that I am sure that a lot of the Q Continuum has dropped in for a visit. All Friends are welcome!

Would it relieve your sweet unprogrammed heart to know that I am not receiving financial release for my ministry at this time?

We have gone from birth as a worship group of three to a full monthly meeting with all the trimmings in one year. Everyone has contributed to that effort, but my ability to contribute about 20 hours a week has been a significant factor.

I have been a 'Public Friend" for years, and have done quite a bit of public preaching - I was Friend in residence at North Pacific Yearly Meeting in 2002, to which I think Beppe refers. But I do not preach very much in meeting at FFC. Our worship is semi-programmed, and I do facilitate the worship, but the friends gathered at FFC - almost all of whom are new to Quakerism - do not seem to find this ministry onerous.

Wish you were a lot closer than Brooklyn, and could drop in for visit.

peace to you

3:24 PM, May 17, 2005  
Blogger Rich in Brooklyn said...

I'm delighted that Peggy Senger Parsons has dropped by Brooklyn Quaker - and embarassed that I said I was "sorry" her meeting has a pastor. While I am still kind of leery of the whole idea of pastors, I hastily add that I'm glad Freedom Friends have the ministry they feel they need and that Peggy Parsons has an outlet for her gifts and leadings.

That she is not being paid doesn't necessarily relieve my "sweet unprogrammed heart" since being unprogrammed and being uncompensated are probably two different things. However, it does relieve my sweet no-hireling-priest heart.

This brings up the whole nest of issues that different kinds of Friends have with the pastoral system, with recognizing gifts in the ministry. I would like to deal with all of that in another post. For now, suffice it to say that I am not as hard-nosed in my opposition to pastoral ministry I sometimes sound.

6:22 PM, May 18, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Rich, Peggy pointed me to this page. Helen and I have been faithful witnesses during the gestation, birth and infancy of Freedom Friends and we can attest to its being something new and wondrous under the Quaker sun.

Maybe I'm getting all soft-headed out here in California, but releasing Friends to pastoral ministry doesn't seem as abominable to me as it once did in the more bracing climes of High Hicksite NYC.

If you should ever run across Ron Ferguson in your travels (last I knew him he was pastor at Winchester FC/Indiana) he can be quite articulate on the distinctions between a professionalized ordained clergy and Friends who are recognized by their community as being called to pastoral ministry and released -- i.e. supported, including at times financially -- to follow that leading. I have to ask what the substantive difference is between being called to pastor one or more meetings, and having an itinerant ministry like John Calvi's or Vanessa Julye's, if the calling is recognized, recorded and regularly tested by the meeting community.

Very warmest regards
Pamela Calvert
Strawberry Creek MM/Pacific YM

12:08 AM, May 25, 2005  

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